Xavier Bettel, we can be sure, speaks for the vast majority of European leaders. The United Kingdom’s shambolic handling of its departure from Europe is a serious matter. Not only does this threaten the health and well-being of ordinary people in the UK, it poses a serious risk to the peace and security of Ireland – an EU member state, it promises serious and far-reaching economic consequences for the United Kingdom and the European Union, and creates – by damaging the integrity of the institutions which have preserved peace and coöperation since the end of the Second World War...
The British government is expecting the entire UK economy to dive four times deeper over the 15 years after Brexit than it did during the last recession. Will it recover, we might ask, after those first 15 years are over? No. There is no reason to imagine it will. Removed from the wider European bloc, it is likely that over a protracted period the British economy will sink to a new normal. This much was predicted some time ago by arch Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg when he admitted that the recovery after Brexit may be 50 years down the line.
To put this is Texas terms: We’ve struck oil. We are rich. We are richer than our wildest dreams! But, wait, we’re not. We are not an independent country. We voted No to independence in 2014, believing we were broke, and that the oil was running it. We bought the lie that what oil we had left wouldn’t be worth a pittance. The same people who were laughing at us then are laughing at us now; that oil bonanza – which they knew was in the pipeline – will not be coming to us. It will be going right where it has always gone, to London.
Too many people in the UK seem incapable or unwilling to accept that all of this is a deliberate attack on ordinary people, a series of policies directed at soaking the wealth of society from the bottom to the top. Those who have died of starvation have died as the result of a policy which sees their deaths as nothing more that collateral damage. These same policies think just as little of the rest of us. Even how they speak of people – thinking here of Iain Duncan Smith’s “low value people” – betrays their vicious and avaricious contempt for human beings.
The headline, given that most people seeing it don’t read further, has already misguided the public. Fraser will no doubt say he wasn’t responsible for it, but its use of a headcount of “5,000” more seeking work in Scotland inaccurately describes the reality of the figures. In fairness, Fraser does explain that “the rise appeared to be due to more women seeking work, while male unemployment remained the same,” but the damage has been done. Readers have already been misled into believing that the economy is worsening – which is not true.
The purpose of austerity is to so completely and utterly destroy the ability of ordinary working people to resist the advancement of this government’s neoliberal ambitions. It is where class war gears up into total war; an all-out war of annihilation on the poor by the rich. It is designed and executed in such a fashion so as to fracture the bonds of society, weaken community and class solidarity, break the family, and crush the individual. Brexit – the British establishment’s hoped for break from European regulations – can only make the scope of austerity more far reaching.
More pressing than questions of currency – which are nothing more than a clever distraction – are the questions of immigration. At the front and centre of the project of building an independent Scotland the Scottish government has to have a plan in place for undoing the damage that is right now being done. This is far less daunting than it might at first appear. We have years of experience under London rule and devolution of attracting people to Scotland...
Walkers Shortbread has landed itself in a spot of bother over a marketing decision. The family run business thought it would be a good idea to launch a union flag shortbread tin, thinking the Scottish public would see in it nothing more than a Scottish company doing what it takes to make a buck. One would be forgiven for wondering where the heck Jim Walker, the firm’s managing director, has been for the last few years. There is no one in Scotland in 2018 who thinks the flag of the United Kingdom – the “butcher’s apron” – is a politically neutral emblem of national identity and patriotism.